Lock the switch

I was at a doctor’s office today and found this on the wall as I was leaving:

A light switch lock mounted on a toggle switch

This toggle switch lock is useful for many situations

It’s a lock to hold a light switch on (or off).

The locks are not easy to find at a good price. I found some on ebay and Amazon, but not in local hardware stores. For a small piece of plastic, they are expensive, but they are probably a low-volume item and don’t benefit from an economy of scale.

There’s a second style that has a hole for the toggle. This alternate style has the advantage that it can’t be knocked out of place. From the photographs, it appears that installations benefit from a longer-than-normal screw to hold it securely.

A church I visit has a switch they want to keep on. Right now it is just held in place with packing tape. I’ll have to see if they’d like me to donate one of these. They look much more professional and don’t need an obligatory “please leave this switch on” message taped to the wall.

The reviews report another use for them: to protect switches that are part of a smart home system such as SmartThings, Wink, Google Home or Echo and Alexa. Reviewers also suggest using them with the switches for garage lights, outdoor lights and sump pump systems.

Clutter on the disks

I have a lot of clutter on my disks. I keep projects around “just in case.” One thought was “Maybe I’ll go back some day.” As I migrated from computer to computer, the files kept multiplying… one copy on the old computer and a companion on the new. As partitions got full, files moved from one to the next, making new copies to add to the clutter. The debris of unfinished projects are everywhere.

This summer I took all of my old drives that were still readable and loaded them into the main computer, allowing even more clutter to spin silently. It’s amazing how small drives were 10 – 15 years ago. I even discovered that I have files of my floppy discs from the pre-Windows computer era.

To help with the declutter project, I wrote a utility that visits all of the files on the computer and records their name, size and where they’re located. I used the logs from that tool to find all of my “NewPoetry” folders. (NewPoetry holds copies of my poetry since 2010 and I really only want the most recent edit.) Now I only have one NewPoetry!

I am searching for an old project takes my poetry and formats them as a website. I haven’t used that tool for several years. I hope that the HTML formatted files can be a companion to http://blog.wwayneb.com blog where I published many of my poems

Why I should not work in a slaughterhouse

Last week I found that I had a mouse. I put out a trap for him. He ate the peanut butter, didn’t trip the trap and left a lot of “souvenirs.” I put up a couple new traps under my sink. I put honey on one of them.

I was watching a movie when I hear some squeals from my kitchen. I looked under there and found the mouse trapped with it’s back broken by the spring trap.

It took me a minute to come to terms with him still being alive. I felt he was frightened and looking at me.

Finally, I told myself that I’d already committed to killing it, so this was just part of the process. After a couple of minutes, I did dispose of the mouse, but I was very hesitant to do that.

If I was working in a slaughterhouse, I would have this internal conversation over and over. Not a good career choice.


Three colored hexagonsThis was a pleasant weekend. I got a bunch of things done and felt pretty comfortable.

I worked on some Perl scripts that allow data entry and calculations with my budget information. I could have done it with an Excel spreadsheet, but developing code was more enticing.

I also have been upgrading my laptop. I installed Windows 10 on it. The system is unacceptably sluggish but I can’t justify upgrading to a new laptop. Right now it is synchronizing my 200k+ files in dropbox. That is taking a long time. I’ll have to see how the laptop behaves once dropbox is settled.

I installed Scrivener, Cygwin and ActiveState Perl. Also Office 365 and I built the 4.07.0 OCaml system. The laptop I’m keeping slightly more “stock” by not installing utilities like Avast and possibly also not other browsers like Chrome and Firefox.

I’ve built a couple websites recently. One, http://alphaomegaonline.org has morphing colors. It’s not interactive although clicking flips between different algorithms for the color transformations. I’m designing an update that reacts to mouse clicks by “fracturing” the screen into sub-screens that morph independently.

The other site http://sesquibits.com/planets.html calculates and displays a running summary of the distance between the planets. It also shows relative velocities and acceleration. You can pick any planet as the center point. A future goal for the site is to present interactive graphs of the planetary distances.

Other pleasant escapades in the weekend were visiting friends, going to the Y and reading a couple of books. I ate way too much pizza.

They have compromising videos

Excited Talk
Today I got the 4th email asking me to send a payment to prevent videos of “me having fun” from being released to my friends and coworkers.

Three of the threats had a “from” at outlook.com and one was from a .ru return address. The outlook.com messages appear to have been generated by (automatically?) filling in a lengthy template. The text in the .ru threat was completely different.

The threats are based on my same user name, password and email address. The message subjects are the same. All of them demand that I should pay the money via bitcoin. They all claim to have videos that record me using a pornography service. They give me 48 hours to reply. They all use warped syntax and look like they were created by a non-English speaker.

One message was from July when I first heard of the porn video scam. I received three threats this month.

The user name/password were only used on a livejournal account. It’s a demonstration why using different passwords on different sites is important. If I had had repeated passwords, I wouldn’t know where the theft happened.

It also shows that once information is stolen, it can pop up repeatedly. I assume that I’ll be getting more of these messages.

Button it down

Earlier, the heating unit in my clothes dryer went out. When the workers came to repair it, they took out the dryer drum and scattered dozens of lost buttons across the floor.

I resolved not to lose any more shirt buttons.

My solution is a little labor intensive, but so far it’s been working. I button up all of the shirt buttons and then turn the shirt inside out.

When the shirt is dry, I turn it right side out, unbutton a couple of top buttons and hang it in the closet.

By buttoning all of the buttons, the force on each individual button is reduced. By turning the shirt inside out, the buttons won’t be pulled by the other clothes in the dryer.

A middle step happens when I transfer the clothes from the washer to the dryer.

Instead of throwing all of the clothes, towels and wash clothes into the dryer as a big mass, I take them one at a time and shake them out. It lets me see when there are loose threads and might help them dry a little more evenly.